• Jason E. Fort

Americana - How much longer?



I was sitting down to eat at one of my favorite burger joints in Columbia, SC today after dropping off a patient for transport, and a strange thing happened as I took my first big bite into that juicy double cheese burger. Of all the times in the world, as I looked out the front window and saw the Olive Garden across the street, the Chili's a little further up, and the Rooms to Go down in the plaza next door - a strange vision flashed before my eyes.

I know what you're thinking - crazy, right?!

Well, it gets crazier.

There before me were those trademarked symbols of Americana, in I daresay, the only spot in the world where you could find all three of those locations in close proximity to a Rush's restaurant. And then suddenly, it is like I was looking at the same exact same scene, but some time in the distant future. It was so vivid; so real as I looked around my panoramic view from the front window seat - and yet I shook my head and the picture was gone. But in that fleeting moment, I somehow took in enough detail that I can spout off exactly what filled the scene - and I have no idea why I had such a strange sight!

In almost photographic color, but a dusty, almost desert like color, I saw hulks of empty automobiles spread out on Harbison Blvd. I saw a decrepit building across the cracked and broken road; it somewhat resembled an Olive Garden, but looked like it hadn't had anyone inside the place for eons. Over in the plaza, the large parking lot was like the cracked ground of Death Valley on its driest day. The Rooms to Go was collapsed, and tumble weeds rolled across the cracked ground. There was no Chili's, and instead I saw a bare branched tree with a raven sitting on the highest limb. That's when I shook my head, and saw my burger again.

So, regardless of what caused the day dream, or vision, or lapse in reality...of course it got me thinking. Now, I am not typing this, nor did I think about this as it relates to current political events, or religion, or anything like that. I just couldn't help but think of how American the specific corner at which I sat felt, and so I started thinking about symbols of Americana all across our great country. I thought about the neat metal bridges over the rivers that flowed through small towns, such as the one in Selma, Alabama. I thought about the cornfields I got to see when I drove on a road trip to Illinois a long time ago. I thought about football games and sold out crowds filling stadiums. I thought about hot dogs, and the cheese burger in front of me. I thought about pizzerias in the streets of New York. I thought about American movies, like Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought about American car companies, and Fords and Chevys, and Dodges, and Harley Davidsons. I thought about fireworks on the fourth of July. I thought about the song Hail to the Chief. I thought about Bon Jovi, and Def Leopard, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Guns and Roses. I thought about Pepsi and Coca-cola. I thought about the NFL, and NBA, and the USA printed on the front and backs of American athletes at every Olympics I ever saw. This was the oddest time to think of all these things..and then I asked myself one simple question -

How much longer do we all have to enjoy it all?

Now as a Christian, I know there are way more important things at stake, and others things to think about. But for that moment, with this crazy 'dome full of thoughts' as a friend of mine has described, I couldn't help but wonder how much longer until something close to resembling my vision would be a reality. It shouldn't matter to me as it relates to eternity. But there it was; a question that I pose to all of you out there in blog reading land.

So what's your guess? How much longer will the great experiment known as the United States last?

Please leave a comment or two. Not trying to be political or inflammatory at all here - just something that entered my thoughts today.